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Cavs close to rewarding Kemp with big-bucks deal

Shawn Kemp appears on the verge of signing a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"It's close," Kemp said with a smile when asked by the Plain Dealer to comment on its report today and those in the New York Times and the Daily News of his imminent signing.The Cavaliers got Kemp last month in a three-way trade with Seattle and Milwaukee.

Kemp, frustrated with his contract in Seattle, was expected to agree to a deal worth more than $14 million a season, NBA sources told the newspapers.

The Sonics, willing but unable to redo Kemp's contract because of salary cap rules, received forward Vin Baker from the Bucks, who sent guard Sherman Douglas to Cleveland as well.

Milwaukee acquired guard Terrell Brandon and forward Tyrone Hill from Cleveland.

Bob Zink, a spokesman for the Cavaliers, would not confirm the contract deal was nearly finished.

"If we had anything to announce, we would have announced it," he said.

Kemp, a 6-foot-10 forward who also can play center, has averaged 16.2 points and 9.6 rebounds in eight NBA seasons. He joined the league after one year at a community college, where he did not play basketball.

The Cavs had about $9.5 million in salary cap room, enough to give Kemp a new deal under the salary cap, the newspapers reported.

The five-time All-Star had his best year in 1995-96, when the Sonics went to the NBA Finals. He averaged 19.6 points and 11.4 rebounds for a team that won 64 regular-season games.

Kemp slumped to averages of 18.7 and 10 last season.